Sunday, November 12, 2006

Today's Profiles of Entrepreneurship in Africa: Aliko Dangote

Today's Profiles of Entrepreneurship in Africa, is about why Africa's future is so bright. Periodically, The Benin Epilogue will bring you this series to highlight how entrepreneurship is ushering a new era into Africa's political and economic landscape. I will make every effort to highlight both indigenous entrepreneurs doing big things in various African countries, as well as non-resident entrepreneurs who are finding success in Africa. This is just as much about the private sector lifting public burden; as it is about giving the common entrepreneur, with no connections, in Africa just as much of a chance at winning that an parliamentarian's son would have. This is also why foreign and local investors alike would be wise to look to Africa as the investment destination of today and tomorrow.
Today we are talking about Aliko Dangote. Mr. Dangote is a Kano, Nigeria born business man, he is also the founder of The Dangote Group. We chart his business beginnings to Kano, Nigeria; the year is 1977. This is the year that he received a small sum of money from a relative. He used this capital to buy commodities, which he later sold and reinvested the proceeds. From these commodities, he opened up into building materials.....the rest "as they say" is history.
A survey of today's Dangote Group would find a business conglomerate whose market covers Nigeria, as well as a huge portion of West Africa. The company is a market leader in sugar importation ( to the tune of 400,000 metric tonnes or 70 % of Nigeria's total requirements). This imported sugar is refined in the group's sugar refinery in Lagos, Nigeria and this sugar factory is reputed to be the largest on the African continent and the third largest in the world. The Dangote Group also imports rice, cement, fertilizer, and fish-just to name a few. Additionally, the group exports cocoa, cotton, sesame seed, and ginger.
There's more...the group is a major producer of textiles and has a major stake in one of Nigeria's largest salt processing companies.
All of the above is enough to put a striving entrepreneur cub, like me, in awe. This is not what made me choose Mr. Dangote as the topic this post-his confidence in Africa, however, is amazing. To say that his investment strategy is patriotic would simply be an understatement. He has made investment promotion in Nigeria and in other parts of Africa his own personal cause. And I don't know this for sure, so don't quote me; but I wouldn't be surprised if he banked right there in Lagos.....

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Anonymous said...

Great Bio! It is uplifting to see a different perspective of Africa; Native entrepreneurs creating wealth. Sad to say this is contrary to popular stereotypes, including my own, of the Motherland that just perpetuate images of desolate land, poverty, and AIDS.

Benin "Mwangi" said...

I appreciate your comments. In fact between my father and I; we have been to thirteen different countries in Africa. And we both agree that, in person, we have never seen some of the bleak and impoverished scenes that are often shown on television. That is not to say that those things don't exist. However, it is noteworthy to mention just the sheer size of Africa (big enough to hold the United States, China, Europe, India, and part of South America...with more room leftover)is enough that sweeping generaliztions based upon occasional TV views probably would not prepare one for the vast amount of divesity that one finds there: nearly 1 billion people, 52 nations, thousands of languages, rainbows of colors and complexions, hundreds and hundreds of cities, and myriads of economic enviornments. What I am really trying to say is that there are millions of entrepeneurs "Made in Africa" everyday. But you are so correct in poining out that we dont hear enough about them.
Once again I would like to thank our anonymous guest for commenting here. You are always welcome to share your thoughts and ideas and I look forward to hearing more from you.

imnakoya said...

Great work!

Dangote started small and smart, today he's one of the few indigenous entrepreneurs on the continent.

I see you have discovered Timbuktu Chronicles. I long to read more about business in Africa on your site.

Thanks for visiting Grandiose Parlor!

Benin "Mwangi" said...

Imnakoya, may you be forever blessed! Coming from you, I take that as a tremendous complement.

Thank you for visiting The Benin Epilogue... anyone who has not yet had a chance- if current affairs in Africa is of interest to you Check out Imnakoya's blog

coldtusker said...

Great stuff... I am a huge fan of Africa... well, I am critical of many practices that "seem" ingrained esp among the politicians... but I see light at the end of the tunnel!

Benin "Mwangi" said...

Coldtusker, thanks for your words of encouragment. Gotta say thats quite some commentary you have there on your blog. Looking forward to more.


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